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A few words about pit bulls

July 28, 2008 |  1:03 pm

Pit_bull_with_a_pink_noseFew creatures in the animal kingdom seem to generate as much heated comment as pit bulls, but L.A. Unleashed would like to remind readers (and the staff of L.A. Unleashed) that the so-called bully breed has many, many, many defenders. Two cases in point:

Last week, the Orange County Register reported that an owner advocacy group was furious about a Verizon Wireless TV commercial "in which two American pit bull terriers –- commonly known as pit –- bulls are portrayed as vicious guard dogs." The group calls itself ROVERlution.

The 30-second commercial has a young man climbing over a chain-link fence into a junkyard, attempting to obtain the Verizon LG Dare phone. He awakens two pit bulls, which are tied down with metal choke collars.

The dogs bark ferociously and lunge at the intruder. The dogs get within inches of the man before being yanked to a halt because the chains don't extend far enough.

A Verizon statement says the commercial with the dogs "is no longer on the schedule."

In the meantime, the newest issue of "Bark," which bills itself as "the modern dog culture magazine," takes a thoughtful look at an organization called BAD RAP, Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls. Last year, the magazine reports, founders Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer were "among the nine experts asked by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help evaluate 49 of the dogs seized from Michael Vick's Bad Newz kennels and held in Virginia-area shelters."

Yes, we know that if you sign up for a "Google alert" on "animal attacks," many of the headlines involve pit bulls, but it's tough to read the article in Bark and dismiss the notion of redemption. "The personal stories of dogs -- dogs redeemed from dreadful captivity, with no interest in fighting, joyously learning to be with people -- have touched many hearts."

-- Alice Short

Photo: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

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